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Opinion

Eddie Howe accepts Newcastle United 181 days challenge

3 weeks ago
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Eddie Howe has walked into this Newcastle United job with eyes wide open.

The newly appointed NUFC Head Coach very much aware of the immediate challenge that confronts him, rather than daydreaming about what may lie beyond this 2021/22 season.

The position that he (and the new Newcastle United owners) has inherited, is a total mess, courtesy of Steve Bruce and Mike Ashley.

The club / team deep in a relegation battle and a completely unbalanced NUFC squad in terms of strengths and weaknesses. A disastrous summer transfer window that was totally wasted, with instead countless extended contracts handed to current players, many of who should have moved on some time ago.

To sum up just how big the scale of the task is, Eddie Howe has accepted a Newcastle United 181 days challenge.

Yes, it will actually be 181 days since Newcastle United won a football match, when the new Head Coach takes charge of his first ever NUFC game.

That game is Brentford at home on Saturday 20 November and the expectation / hope is that after those six months (181 days) without a win, Eddie Howe can beat Brentford and go on to win another two of the next three matches, in order to give Newcastle what will look a realistic chance of survival.

The four games in a two week stretch are…as well as Arsenal away, three relegation six pointers at home to Brentford, Norwich and Burnley.

It is these three home matches that Newcastle really have to win, especially considering a schedule of Leicester, Liverpool, Man City, Man Utd and Everton that immediately follows in December.

For further perspective though, on this challenge of winning three Newcastle United home matches in the space of two weeks, by the time Brentford comes around, in the past eleven and a half months at St James Park, Newcastle have won exactly three Premier League home matches.

Whilst in all competitions, home and away, Newcastle have been victorious in only seven of their last forty one games.

This is a team and club, that amongst many other things, has lost its winning feeling. Those in charge having overseen such a drop in standards, right throughout the club, that failure has become ingrained.

Under Rafa Benitez, it was a far weaker / cheaper squad of players (due to Mike Ashley refusing to back the manager – zero net spend allowed over the three and a bit years the Spaniard was manager) but Rafa made a team that was greater than the sum of its parts.

Under Steve Bruce, it became the opposite, despite a £125m+ net spend the team has become progressively worse, something far worse than the sum of its parts.

Under Eddie Howe, I am confident that we are going to see a far more progressive front foot team put out on the pitch, the new head coach looking to instil confidence in the players once again, make them believe again that they are capable of playing football and not just gather around their own penalty area waiting for the inevitable, conceding goals and losing matches.

Nobody pretends it will be easy BUT if Eddie Howe gets his approach right and the players buy into it, finally we should see again the proper harnessing of the energy / support from those inside St James Park, giving them the chance of getting behind something that can at least see a marked increase in the levels of performance in home games, which should then produce a far higher dividend of points.

It is all that Newcastle fans have wanted for years, a club and a team that they can properly get behind once again.

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